Playing Ray Robson 3

Nov 20, 2010, 5:46 AM |

Holy Cow! I'm playing Ray Robson tomorrow. And the event made the Sarasota Herald Tribune paper. I'm even mentioned - sort of; I think I'm the blogger that the writer listed as one of the "mix of opponents" along with "... a 12-year-old, a septuagenarian, and a woman". Perhaps I should spend time on tactics trainer today to tune-up.

How did I get here? I don't have an official rating. I've never even played in a tournament. I was a USCF member for a year when I was in college so that I could play postal chess - but as soon as my fraternity's party schedule started I resigned all of my games and focused on mates of the opposite sex.

My dad taught me to play before I entered kindergarten and a I still remember falling to fool's mate and the 4-move bishop's opening mate during those first Sunday morning chess sessions. But once I entered kindergarten, I was my dad's daddy on the chessboard. In fact, in those days I did not lose very much to anyone - adults or kids - because there were not many strong players around. However, I often claim credit for helping my dad grow his marine supply business in New Orleans.

At the time folks in shipping played a lot of chess while on board ships. When one of the shipping line families visited our house for Cajun food (my family's Mexican/Spanish actually), I was about 15 at the time, the father saw me over a board following a text-book (I lived down the block from the local library and they had a decent collection of chess texts, so that was how I learned and played). He asked me to play a game - I was glad to because I rarely had a chance to play against another person - this was in the mid 70's.

We played; I won. He was gracious but I could tell that the loss bugged him. So he started inviting himself to our house to play. Word spread that I could give folks in the shipping companies good games so the shipping line folks would call my dad to seek me out. Who knew that chess could be such a great business development investment.